Great Moments in Black Music (Playlist)

Black Music Month (or, African-American Music Appreciation Month) is officially known as an annual celebration of the music created by black people in the United States of America and last from June 1st to June 30th of each year. However, this two-part article will feature and celebrate the works of black musicians and their contributions to music by offering a playlist of music from various genres from some of the most pivotal black musicians of all time. So, without re-writing their stories, let’s listen to an alphabetical playlist of some of their greatest hits.

1) Aaliyah – “If You’re Girl Only Knew” (1996)

2) Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like a) “Natural Woman” (1968)

3) B.B. King – “The Thrill is Gone” (1969)

4) Bob Marley – “No Woman No Cry” (1976)

5) Boogie Down Productions - Self Destruction (1991)

*This song features collaborations by Hip Hop legends KRS-One, D-Nice, Ms. Melodi, Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Just-Ice Heavy D and Public Enemy with song samples from Funky Drummer and Pass the Peas by the JB’s.

6) Chaka Khan – “Through the Fire” (1984)

7) Ella Fitzgerald – “Summertime” (1958)

8) Eric B and Rhakim – “Eric B. Is President” (1986)

9) James Brown – It’s A Man’ Man’s World (1966)

10) Janet Jackson – “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” (1991)

11) Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Purple Haze

12) Louis Armstrong, and his All Stars live in Berlin in 1965 – “Black and Blue” (1929)

13) Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get It On” (1973)

14) Mary J. Blige – “Real Love” (1992)

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15) Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean” 1983

16) Miles Davis – “So What” (1959)



17) Nas – “New York State of Mind” (1994)

18) Nat King Cole – “Unforgettable” (1951)


19) Naughty By Nature – “Hip Hop Hooray” (1993)

20) Nina Simone – “Ain’t Got no, I Got Life” (1968)



21) Odetta Williams  - If I Had a Hammer (released 1960)



22) Prince – “Purple Rain” (1984)



23) R. Kelly – “Step In the Name of Love” (2003)



24) Ray Charles – “I Got a Woman” (1954)



25) Smokie Robinson & The Miracles (1978)



26) Stevie Wonder – My Cheri Amour (1969)



27) TLC – “Waterfalls” (1994)



28) Tina Turner – “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (1984)



29) Tupac Shakur – “Ghetto Gospel” (2005)



30) Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You” (1992)

This playlist, in no way, is an exhaustive list of the excellence of Black Music! We know that a complete and thorough listing of Black Music would be too long for the mind to even begin to create. Be on the lookout for part two of this month’s Black Music Review.